In the broadest sense, the bail-bond business is simple. You get arrested for a crime: a robbery, for example. A judge sets your bail—the money you have to pay if you want to be released before your court date—at, maybe, fifteen thousand dollars. You get the money back if you show up at court when you’re supposed to, and forfeit it if you don’t. Since most defendants don’t have fifteen thousand dollars on hand, they turn to a bondsman. Jakab, who is thirty-six and runs the business as a sole proprietorship, doesn’t actually meet most of his defendants before he bails them out, because they’re behind bars. “Usually I’m dealing with a mom,” he says. “It’s a mom, it’s a wife, a girlfriend.”
The New Yorker did a short profile of a David Jakab, a bail bondsman located down the street from the New York City Supreme Court. According to Jakab (and a bit to my disappointment), he doesn’t know anyone in the bail bond business who uses bounty hunters.